Green. Natural. Organic. All buzzwords of the 21st century.
Today almost every mum wants her baby’s world to be as ‘natural’ and as free of pesticides or unnecessary chemicals as possible. There are countless companies selling natural skincare for babies but back in 1993, there were virtually none – a fact that had not escaped the attention of Melbourne mum-to-be Catherine Cervasio.
The young Melburnian had a background in fashion and beauty, developing products for companies like Sportsgirl and Myer Miss. Several months pregnant with her first baby, she was unexpectedly retrenched and found no-one wanted to employ an ‘almost mum’.
“For some time, I’d been concerned about the chemicals used in commercial baby products,” Catherine says. “When I found myself out of a job at Christmas, I turned it into something positive. I registered a business name straight away and started looking into producing my own natural baby products.”
Catherine, who has qualifications in aromatherapy and massage therapy – had already been working with industrial chemists developing products such as lavender soap sold in Sportsgirl. “I was helping develop natural products long before it was trendy. But even places like The Body Shop were not natural enough for me!
“I was always very keen on having research to support anything I produced for babies. Instead of making products in my kitchen at home, I chose to use labs with the highest quality control and went straight to the highest level of manufacturing.
In 1994, Aromababy was born – Catherine’s range of natural skin and haircare products for babies and mums-to-be. And 14 years later, Aromababy is a firm favourite with such high-profile mums as Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss, Sarah Murdoch and Princess Mary. To celebrate Aromababy’s popularity in the US, Catherine last year launched the New York Celebrity Baby Gift Pack at the LA Mom2B Celebrity event.
Since then, both celeb mums and ‘non-celeb’ mums have been snapping it up like hot cakes. And according to Catherine, she has many male fans as well.
“George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Robin Williams – they’ve all been known to use our organic men’s face cream!” she laughs.
Today, Catherine is a single mother to Beau, 14 and eight-year-old Jacob, and a glowing testament to the efficacy of her own products.
“Our Barrier Balm is fantastic at clearing up nappy rash and eczema etc but I find it is also great for cracked heels. I also love our Stretched to the Limit stretchmark cream – I use it as a moisturiser and to take off my make-up.”
Catherine makes sure that the majority of Aromababy’s product range is scent-free: “Neonatal research says no smell is better for very young babies.” However, Aromababy also features a smaller range of scented products.
A decade and a half on, Catherine is just as passionate and hands-on with the business she created, which now includes an organic clothing range and a second skincare range, Pure Spa. She is perhaps most proud of the fact that Aromababy is the brand of choice of many midwives and many Australian hospitals.
“Aromababy is my vision and it came from my heart. We were the first in the world to do this and I still believe we are the best. It’s not just about being organic – it’s about being natural and effective, based on research. There is no point in being organic if the product doesn’t work for you or your baby.”
By Gill Canning
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